“He is kind. He is compassionate. He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity.”
Fox announced Monday the cancelation of “Empire,” which will end next year after its final season, Vanity Fair reported.
“We are turning the final season of Empire into a large television event . . . We are moving it to 9 o’clock, we’re putting it behind The Resident, and we really are trying to go out guns a-blazing. If you think about it, one of the great benefits of announcing a final season is that you actually allow the fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve,” Fox CEO Charlie Collier said during a conference call with reporters.
The show has struggled in the ratings race as of late. But the real cloud hanging over the network series is its association with scandal-plagued actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of orchestrating a hate-crime hoax against himself earlier this year with the help of two Nigerian brothers. Smollett would later be criminally charged for allegedly lying to police. Those charges would eventually be dropped by the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
In April, Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television revealed in a statement that Smollett would not be returning to hit TV show “Empire” for its sixth season.
Last month, top cast members from “Empire” expressed their support for Smollett in a letter, telling Fox he should be “brought back” for the sixth season.
“Throughout ‘Empire’s’ five seasons working with Jussie and watching how he has conducted himself throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not just the character Jussie portrays, but also truly come to know Jussie’s personal character,” they wrote.
The cast referenced the dropping in March of charges – 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for making a false report – against Smollett.
“He is kind. He is compassionate. He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity. He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped. We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed,” they added.
When pressed on whether Smollett would appear at some point during the show’s final season, Collier said “there are no plans at this point” to bring him back.